DIY Gas Tank Fabrication

Build Your Own Tank

chopper tank

We decided to get our mitts on two King Sporty tank shells ($74.95 each), two screw-type gas fillers ($36.95 each), and a couple of petcock bungs ($8.95 each) and see just how different we could make the tanks look from one another.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

Paughco has done many things monumental in the aftermarket parts game, but its Build-Your-Own tank kits are top on our list. Designed for the DIY bike builder, the Paughco kit comes in six shells and tons of tunnels, mounts, and bungs to build the perfect tank. With these kits, such things as working a planishing hammer and expert metalworking can be low on your list of skills.

As far as the designs of the tanks go, after a few beers and much deliberation we decided that one tank was going to be a simple cut-down Frisco job, with the other being more of an advanced version where we would graft on parts from another tank. Read on and see just how we took two of the same and made them wildly different.

chopper tank

So low that we decided to use only a die grinder, air sander, hand file, chop saw, air compressor, and TIG welder to show you just how easily it could be done.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

chopper tank

So low that we decided to use only a die grinder, air sander, hand file, chop saw, air compressor, and TIG welder to show you just how easily it could be done.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

chopper tank

So low that we decided to use only a die grinder, air sander, hand file, chop saw, air compressor, and TIG welder to show you just how easily it could be done.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

chopper tank

So low that we decided to use only a die grinder, air sander, hand file, chop saw, air compressor, and TIG welder to show you just how easily it could be done.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

The Cut Down

Taking a look at a stock ’70s AMF tank we knew we had to cut the shell to attain the size we wanted, so after some deliberation, we measured 3-1/2 inches to be sectioned from the center of the tank and marked it with masking tape. Using an air-powered die grinder we carefully cut along the taped lines. The two sides of the sectioned tank were held together and checked for high spots between the halves. We then removed the high spots with an air sander until the halves fit flush. Once the tank was properly aligned, we tacked the two halves into place. When we welded the two halves together, 1-inch sections of the seam were TIG welded in an alternating fashion from top to bottom so that the tank would not warp from excessive heat. After the tank halves were welded up, we also decided it was too tall, so we took “two fingers” from the bottom of it. For the tunnel, we cut a piece of 1-1/2-inch DOM tubing in half and made a place in the shell for it to fit. We then sculpted each end of the tunnel to also act as tank mounts and drilled mounting holes in it. To make a template for the bottom panels, the tunnel was placed on 16-gauge sheet metal and the shell put on top of it. Impressions of each side were then traced onto the sheet metal and cut out with a die grinder.

After everything fit well, the tunnel and tank bottoms were tacked into place.

chopper tank

To mount the petcock we drilled a 1/2-inch hole in the bottom of the tank, installed the petcock bung snugly, and welded it into place. For the Frisco look, we located the gas filler high on the top of the tank and cut a hole for it with a 2-inch hole saw, slid the gas filler into the tank, and welded it. With all of the structural work done, the whole tank was then finish welded.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

The Hack-’n’-Hum

This tank was actually the mating of an old Harley-Davidson Hummer gas tank and the Paughco King Sporty shell. We really liked the looks of the early ’50s Hummer tank with its fuel cap and adjacent switch housing but really didn’t care for the rest of the shape of the tank. The high tunnel of the old H-D model also made filling it with enough gas to go even 100 miles not very feasible.

We began the melding of old with new by cutting out the H-D gas filler and switch housing from the old tank and measuring what kind of space on the Paughco tank we had to accept both items.

After a few crude markings on the tank shell it was evident that we could narrow it a bit and still have enough space for the filler and switch housing. We measured and cut 2 inches out of the center of the shell. We then took on the job of carefully shaving down each side of the tank shell for proper fitment. With it tacked and arrow-straight we stitched up the two sides of the shell using the same 1-inch weld method as the first tank.

Using a couple of hole saws we made a 2-inch hole for the Hummer tank’s donated gas filler and a 3-inch hole for its switch housing. Once the holes were properly sized with a die grinder, we slid each one in and tack welded them.

We then decided the tank was looking a bit too tall, so we cut 2 inches out of the bottom of the shell.

chopper tank

For the tunnel of the tank, like this tank’s Frisco’d counterpart, we employed a piece of 1-1/2-inch DOM tubing that was cut in half. We also carefully cut out the tank bottoms with a similar tracing style as the other tank, which garnered great results. With the tank tacked into place and to our liking, we finished welding it.

Words and Photos: Jeff Leighton

Source:

Paughco

(800) 423-2621